One Police Plaza

Howard Safir: More Terrorism Profits

April 21, 2008

Looks like Howard Safir may have a new job — capitalizing yet again on the threat of terrorism.

This time, he even has some marquee names who might join him.

Filings with the Security and Exchange Commission list Safir as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of a newly created Delaware venture, with the ponderous name of National Security Solutions [NSS], which, if you say the initials fast enough, might be confused with NSC, the government agency in charge of our national security.

Listed as part of Safir’s team are former FBI head Louie Freeh, described as an “advisor,” and former Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, a “Director Nominee.”

The prospectus describes NSS — which is seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in an initial public offering — as a “newly organized blank check company,” focusing on “corporate security [the ‘security industry’] and homeland security and national security [the ‘homeland defense industry.’]

Key to the venture’s success appears to be — surprise, surprise — terrorism.

According to the NSS filing, “Events such as those that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001 in New York City, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania, and on July 7, 2005 in London, exposed a previously underestimated security risk. These unfortunate events have caused governments, individuals and commercial and institutional organizations to focus on their security arrangements. ….We believe our management team has the skills and experience to identify, evaluate and consummate a successful business combination…”

Safir — who served as commissioner from 1996-2000 -- has played the 9/11 card before..

Note the title of his 2003 book: “Security,” with its sub-title “Policing Your Homeland, Your City.”

Last August, under the headline, “He wasn’t even on the job but uses the attack to boost biz,” Greg Smith wrote in the Daily News that Safir had made millions “through multiple contracts and corporate positions related to the fallout from 9/11 … by specifically offering devices to thwart terrorists.”

Most wondrous was a device he peddled called ResQline, a body harness attacked to the coil of a cable that supposedly allowed people on upper floors of skyscrapers under terrorist attack to jump to safety. ResQline has since gone bankrupt.

The NSS prospectus describes Safir as New York City’s “39th Police Commissioner and the 29th Fire Commissioner, making him the only individual in the history of New York City to be both police and fire commissioner.”

But the prospectus fails to mention that the only individual in the history of New York City to be both police and fire commissioner was apparently too busy to attend even one funeral of the 23 police officers who died on 9/11.

He did attend one funeral of the 343 firefighters who died on that day.

Safir did not respond to an e-mail message.

But at least one person in the security industry may be on to him.

Four months ago, this column reported that Safir had pleaded in a letter to David Cohen, the New York City Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence, that Cohen return his phone calls.

Or as NYPDConfidential’s Dec. 10, 2007 column quoted the letter: “David! I have called you four times and you have not returned my calls. There was never a time when I did not return the calls you made to me, nor did I ever fail to help you. Friends do not treat friends this way.”

Another Door Closes on Cohen.
Yet another federal judge has denied Deputy Commissioner Cohen’s attempt to file a secret declaration in his attempt to cover up the NYPD’s spying on protests groups before the 2004 Republican National Convention.

District Judge Richard Sullivan last week supported the ruling of federal magistrate James Francis IV, saying the NYPD had “failed to present any persuasive legal authority or compelling justification” to submit Cohen’s declaration in secret.

In January, Francis had called Cohen’s attempt “antithetical to our adversary system of justice.”

Cohen has been fighting protest groups’ efforts to have the NYPD turn over redacted copies of its undercover spying reports, known as DD5s. Cohen not only wants to keep the reports secret. He wants to keep his reasons for keeping the report secret secret.

So what’s his next move? Not so long ago, he trotted out the discredited ex-New York Times reporter Judith Miller to write a supportive newspaper article about how undercover secrets must be protected in the face of terrorism.

Now he’ll no doubt turn to his friends at the Daily News. Remember how in 2005 publisher Mortimer Zuckerman contacted Cohen, saying he was being followed, possibly by terrorists? Turned out the terrorists — retired NYPD detectives — had been hired, this column has learned, by someone closer to home. [More to come on that.]

An open “Letter” to the Suffolk County District Attorney.

“Dear D.A. Thomas Spota:

Isn’t it wonderful what you can achieve when you put your mind to something? Just as I encouraged Police Commissioner Ray Kelly to pursue high-end counterfeiters in New York City, I want to congratulate you on the arrest of Rakesh Kumar and his wife Poonam of Roslyn, L.I., for allegedly buying and selling millions of dollars worth of fake luxury items, including bogus Prada, Gucci and LaCoste items.

“As I told Police Commissioner Kelly after his recent seizure of Nike sneakers and handbags from a Queens warehouse, ‘Counterfeiters of high end goods are as evil to me as terrorists are to you.’

“I know that my advertisers at Harper’s Bazaar will be impressed that your investigators in Suffolk County conducted a three-month investigation that also resulted in your recovering $1.5 million in cash.

“Perhaps your office might consider stationing a detective overseas in its fight against counterfeiting. If so, my organization might be able to help with some ‘buy money.’”

Valerie Salembier,
Publisher of Harper’s Bazaar and Chairwoman of the New York City Police Foundation.